Glasgow Hawks 24 Hawick 18
Glasgow Hawks secured their first win back in the top flight of the Scottish game but having raced into an early lead they made life difficult for themselves at Old Anniesland this afternoon.
Hawick, galvanised by the combination of bludgeoning charge and deft off-loads from Bruce McNeil up front and the running threat of Gregor Hunter (below right) at stand-off, over-turned a 0-12 deficit after six minutes to lead 18-12 at half-time and it took a late surge from the hosts to take the honours.
Jamie Dempsey, Hawks' head coach, noted that the loss of composure from his charges between the 15th and 30th minutes is the sort of mental lapse that can come from a pre-dominantly young side.
"But to come back out and score 12 unanswered points in the second-half when Hawick had the wind advantage says a lot about the boys," he added.
Both sides sought to play with width and ambition and had either managed to mix that with ruthless control then the finish might have been a deal more conclusive.
Hawks opened with a Tom Steven try with hardly a minute played, the winger following up a kick-ahead to get the touch with Mike Adamson converting.
A free-kick for a squint feed at the first scrum - quite why the referee didn't pursue that offence throughout the game was something of a mystery - didn't delay Hawks long from their second try as Rory McKay won against the throw at a lineout for Paddy Boyer to snipe in.
Hunter put Hawick on the board with two penalties and then gloriously embellished an attack off scrum ball that McNeil had rescued for Scott McLeod to win the race for a touchdown on the right. A one point lead for the hosts, however, soon became a six point advantage for the Greens.
It had started from an unlikely position as Hawks' winger Ross McLymont had skinned his opposite number to take the hosts into the Hawick 22. Hawks were too lateral from the ruck, though, and Greg Anderson seized his chance to intercept and race home from more than 70 metres out. Neil Renwick's conversion - Hunter having limped off - saw Hawick ahead at 18-12.
Hawks contrived to fluff two gilt-edged chances before the break - Ross Miller's pass to McLymont and Ally MacLay's pass to Steven were both adjudged forward - and one wondered if they'd be left to rue such largesse.
Instead, McNeil's decision to seek to run and pass from deep in his own 22 around the hour mark, back-fired as Adamson sprinted through to pounce on a loose ball for a try which he converted to regain the home lead at 19-18.
As no-side neared, Boyter, adjuged man of the match by Scotland 7s captain Colin Gregor, escaped down the stand-side for the decisive try. In the lead-up Hawick scrum-half Bruce Campbell was adjudged to have stamped on a Hawks forward and was red-carded, though as most spectators were following play it was hard to know whether the punishment fitted the crime.
Elsewhere in RBS Premiership today, Melrose made it two from two with a convincing 33-11 win against Ayr at Millbrae; Heriot's fought-back from a 6-27 deficit to pip Gala 28-27 at Goldenacre; Edinburgh Accies recorded their second win, holding out 18-17 against Aberdeen Grammar at Rubislaw; and Stirling County posted a 42-28 margin against Currie at Malleny Park.